ORIGINAL AIR DATE: Feb. 24th, 2014
SONG: Yes, “Giant Woman”
SYNOPSIS: All Steven wants to do is see Amethyst and Pearl turn into a giant woman, but the duo's contrasting personalities make it very difficult!
Pearl and Amethyst are engaging in a checkers match with Steven monitoring the game, splashing them both with water balloons to make sure each turn matters (even though Pearl states every move matters in checkers.) Either way, she wins the game, though Amethyst showed some promise.
While Amethyst excitedly take in Steven's water balloons, Pearl is aghast over her teammate's causality. “Ugh, you're no fun anymore. This is why we never form Opal.” Amethyst chides. Pearl counters by saying she's a mess. They get into a heated argument until Steven butts in and asks who Opal is. Opal is the bigger fused form of Amethyst and Pearl, brought into existence when the two are in perfect synchronization. It combines the magical and physical attributes of both the Gems into one single entity. An excited Steven asks for a demonstration, but Pearl states Opal is for emergencies only.
Garnet returns from a scout mission, having found the Geo-Beetles of Heaven and Earth. Since there's two, she suggest they split up. Pearl and Amethyst doesn't want to go together, but they are forced into the group along with Steven because the Heaven Beetle is located atop the Sky Spire. Garnet's the only one who can wade through lava where the Earth Beetle is, though given her heightened perception, this is just as likely her way of getting Amethyst and Pearl to get along. This is further evident when Garnet tells Steven to keep the harmony. As naive as the boy is, if there's anyone who can bring people together, it's that guy.
The Sky Spire is located at the very top of a mountain accessible via a stairway. Steven peppers Amethyst and Pearl about Opal, desperately trying to get them to fuse. It says something that even Amethyst is getting a bit miffed at Steven's constant questions. Suddenly, something is shaking in the bushes. Luckily, it's not an enemy, but a mere mountain goat. Sorry, Steven, Opal has to appear another day. Steven sighs and starts singing a song about his desire to see “a Giant Woman.” While the song goes, there is a series of montages of the trio (plus one goat AKA Steven Jr.) journeying to the top. Pearl continues to lecture Amethyst and Steven to an extent while Amethyst retorts with pranks. Steven tries to keep the peace, but the two are nowhere close to making things up.
The team reaches a series of floating platforms that wobble when they get too close to the edge. Encouraged by Amethyst's lollygagging, Steven plays around with her until he falls off the platform. Pearl immediately dives in with Amethyst's whip coiled around her waist to act as a bungee cord, catching the kid in time before he could could end up like Wile E. Coyote. Steven is impressed at their speedy teamwork, but the two still refuse to see eye-to-eye.
They reach the top of the Sky Spire where the Heaven Beetle is suppose to be. It's located in a small shrine, complete with a “little beetle bedroom and little beetle bongos and a little beetle baby book.” What an odd thing for a beetle to have. There's one thing missing though: where the heck is the beetle? Pearl and Amethyst get into yet another argument over it, ignoring Steven Jr's cries until it's too late.
A giant bird swoops out and swallows Steven Jr. whole. Steven and the Crystal Gems hide inside the temple where the bird can't reach them, but it refuses to leave. Now is the perfect time to form Opal, but Steven's excitement turns anticlimactic; Pearl and Amethyst dance to fuse into her, but they aren't in sync. Once again, the two get into a debate. Steven tries to get them to settle their differences (so he can see a Giant Woman), but it takes the bird swallowing Steven for them to get their acts together.
Steven is alive, but he's stuck inside the bird. The bird's inners is interesting in itself. Not only has it spent god knows how long swallowing whatever junk we see, the wall of its flesh are filled with bubbled gems. Steven spots Steven Jr, alive and well. It has the Heaven Beetle in its mouth! Further good luck arrives in the form of Opal who literally punches inside the bird and disintegrates it. The pieces of Gem shards from the bird turns into an avian swarm. Opal fishes out Amethyst's whip and Pearl's staff, combining them into a bow to shoot at the creatures.
Once the birds are destroyed, Steven silently stares at Opal in starry-eyed awe. He nervously asks if she recognizes who he is, prompting Opal to giggle and sing a part of Steven's song. Steven is ecstatic. They return home where Garnet is already done with her mission. She asks if they found the Heaven Beetle, but Opal forgot, forcing Amethyst and Pearl to revert back to themselves. They're about to argue again, but Steven saves the day, the beetle was in his pocket the whole time. Garnet is pleased he got them to fuse and says someday he will be able to do the same.
“Giant Woman” is another demonstrative episode centering on the Gems' unique biology. Fusion will play an interesting and important part throughout the series, so it is appropriate the first usage on-screen came about through a trifle argument between Pearl and Amethyst. The episode's path is straight: Amethyst is loud and messy while Pearl is strict and cautious. Two sides are in direct contrast with each other, but it's telling that they're only able to work together and eventually fuse when they have no choice. Opal has been formed before, but one gets the sense that it's gotten harder the longer Amethyst and Pearl knew each other, opening themselves to their flaws. It happens, roommates are always going to have their bad moments, but it's clear they aren't at the stage where they can willingly fuse without an outside force shoving them to. Amethyst and Pearl actually did not learn a lesson to set aside their differences, but work together when it matters the most. Their priorities are in order, but both of them have a long way to go.
Steven may have been the middle man who kept Amethyst and Pearl from killing each other, but it's only when he's in danger that they merged. It's not the best episode to show this off, but it's one of the starting points to his greatest weapon: love. Garnet trusts Steven because he's the first one who will attempt to step in and befriend someone. He is kindhearted by default and while that may not work on all enemies, it's a tool that will serve him immensely in the future. Although it is a bit out of character that in the midst of danger, he only wanted Pearl and Amethyst to settle their differences just so he could see Opal and not out of sincere desire (and let's be clear, he does have it) to see them patch up.
And how about that Opal? She looks great, a perfect combination of Amethyst and Pearl. They don't show it in this episode, but physical and weapon merges aren't the only things a fusion can showcase, personality is as much a factor. Pearl provides a simple explanation, but Opal is a perfect example of what can happen when two minds are in sync, showcasing the best of both Gems' strengths: Amethyst's lack of worries combined with Pearl's intense focus means Opal is a strong-willed individual and individual she is as all fusions are their own person. My only gripe is that we never see Amethyst and Pearl properly fuse with each other on-screen. While I get it makes a bigger impact when Steven witnesses her for the first time (and this is a show seen through his eyes, after all), it's a bit of a letdown. Still, perhaps that's the point, I imagine they had to fuse pretty quickly without the dance-off earlier in the episode.
I appreciate that fusion is not an easy thing to pull either. You don't get to be a superpower giant woman without some setbacks. It takes great deals of concentration and perfect synchronization and that's not often possible when two personalities are at odds. Opal turned out alright at the end, but we've only begun the idea of Gem fusion and like everything in Steven Universe, it is far greater and more complex than it seems.